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I was reading the local community paper today, and I was surprised to see an article on toxic toys called "Poison Me Elmo" by Leslie Garret. (Click here to listen to Leslie speak at Chemical Free Radio Show) The article centered around four chemicals found in toys that are not regulated, but are known toxins. PVC, Phthalates, and Bisphenol A and PBDEs. All four of these are known to be harmful.
The CDC issued a report stating that more studies need to be done to discover the long term effects of Phthalates on the human body. This was in Jan. of 07. Some research, according to the article in my paper links this chemical to cancer, reproductive disorders and early onset of puberty in girls. This chemical is found in anything used to soften plastics.
PVC is a well known toxin, and I was surprised to find that it is also in everything. PVC free is a great resource for learning more about this toxic chemical found not only in toys but in clothing also. They write:
"You can help build consumer demand for safer, healthier products by avoiding the purchase of PVC. One way to be sure if the packaging of a product is made from PVC is to look for the number “3” inside or the letter “V” underneath the universal recycling symbol. In addition, soft flexible plastic products that are made with PVC often have a distinct odor, such as vinyl shower curtains. If you suspect that a product is made of PVC, contact the product manufacturer and ask them directly about the materials used in the product or packaging and your concerns about PVC."
The Green Guide has this to say about Bisphenol A
"Depending on whom you talk to, BPA is either perfectly safe or a dangerous health risk. The plastics industry says it is harmless, but a growing number of scientists are concluding, from some animal tests, that exposure to BPA in the womb raises the risk of certain cancers, hampers fertility and could contribute to childhood behavioral problems such as hyperactivity."
Washington State Dept. of ecology has a whole Q&A link to concerns regarding PBDEs
The scientific online journal Environmental Science & Technology have also written about the ongoing longterm effect this chemical will have on the environment.
US PIRG On toy safety has a email alert regarding toxic toys.
At the end of the article in my paper they listed toy companies that are considered "SAFE" Plan toys, Haba, Brio, Chicco, Discovery Toys and Lego. They a also suggest, being more careful with toy purchases. I googled going green toys and found these links to be helpful
Hazelnut Kids they sell natural and organic toys. I would be interested in seeing more sites like this that sell healthier, safer toys. But in the long run I think I am just angry, that these chemicals are in the environment and in our childrens toys. I am planning on researching more, and spending more energy looking into ways to clean up our house and make the effort to "Go Green" a little bit more every day.